105,295590% of the Earth's freshwater is locked up in the great Ice Sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Several papers have discussed the potential impact of Ice Sheets melting in a warmer climate. Results from critical IPY research will help the science community achieve a more in depth understanding of the processes at work.

International teams of scientists from Norway, Japan, Sweden, USA and China are currently engaged in coordinated Antarctic traverses, probing the ice to learn more about a wide range of physical and chemical properties of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Similar studies occurred in Greenland during the northern summer, involving scientists from yet more countries. This information will be supported by and compared with satellite data, ice sheet models, data from static core drilling sites, and remote studies of sub-glacial water systems. These are the jigsaw pieces that will improve our understanding of the complexity of Ice Sheets, how they grow and reduce, and what implications there might be for sea level in a warmer climate.

More than 20 international IPY projects presently study some aspect of Ice Sheets, or are affected by Ice Sheets. The International Polar Day focussing on Ice Sheets represents an opportunity to learn more about these projects and to talk to the experts directly about their research.